When the temperature starts to climb, there is nothing more refreshing than a slice of watermelon from the refrigerator. How does it compare with the nutritional content of other fruits? Each cup of watermelon (about half a large slice) offers about 13 milligrams of vitamin C (14 to 17 percent of currently recommended daily intake). This is not as high as cantaloupe or honeydew melon, or other high-C fruits such as kiwi, strawberries and oranges, but as one of seven to ten servings of fruits and vegetables daily, it makes an important contribution.
Watermelon is also an outstanding source of lycopene, an antioxidant phytochemical linked with lower risk of prostate and other cancers. Lycopene is the carotenoid that gives tomatoes, watermelon, guava, and red and pink grapefruit their characteristic color. Finally, watermelon also offers a weight-control bonus. A one-cup serving can satisfy a sweet tooth with just 49 calories, making it one of the fruits least concentrated in sugar and calories. For more information and healthy recipes go to aicr.org.
UF/IFAS Sarasota County Extension